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• America’s $1.4 trillion Tuesday
• Obama objects as Russia projects force in Ukraine
• Reid warns: Nevada land fight ‘not over’
• Hawkish cash haul for Bolton
• Starting over. Starting stronger.
AMERICA’S $1.4 TRILLION TUESDAY
It’s Tax Day and millions of Americans are rushing to get their federal income taxes paid before the midnight deadline. Uncle Sam’s haul this year is going to be enormous, estimated at $1.4 trillion from individual taxpayers alone. What does all that buy you? Well, an estimated $427 billion will be needed just to pay interest on existing federal debts. We’re offering some tax and spending facts today as you race the clock.
[A report from the Tax Analysis Center to be released today will show reducing the corporate tax rate from 29 percent to 9 percent would increase U.S. wages by more than 10 percent . – Watch Fox: Chief National Correspondent Jim Angle considers the effort to rewrite the corporate tax code.]
Tax Day is now also ObamaCare Day - For many Americans, today marks their first contact with ObamaCare as new taxes to finance the program’s insurance subsidies kick in. New income taxes on top earners, an increase in federal payroll taxes and new taxes on investment income will help pump an estimated $20.5 billion into the program. National Journal explains the unwelcome surprises for taxpayers: “Most people won't notice the extra Medicare tax because it was automatically deducted from their paychecks, but some could face a tax bill they did not expect, said Jackie Perlman, principal tax research analyst at the H&R Block Tax Institute. The Affordable Care Act also raises the bar for writing off medical expenses.” Watch Fox: Correspondent Doug McKelway analyzes the coming impact of ObamaCare on federal taxes.
[The Hill: “The law’s insurance coverage provisions are now projected to cost close to $1.4 trillion between 2015 and 2024, a decline of about $100 billion from previous estimates, the [Congressional Budget Office] found.”]
FOOD STAMP RECIPIENTS OUTNUMBER WORKING WOMEN
CNSNews: “People participating in the food stamp program outnumbered the women who worked full-time, year-round in the United States in 2012, according to data from the Department of Agriculture and the Census Bureau… For each woman who worked full-time, year-round in 2012, there was slightly more than 1 other person collecting food stamps.”
[The Senate Budget Committee reports that the Department of Agriculture’s food stamps program is expected to cost $78 billion this year.]
OBAMA OBJECTS AS RUSSIA PROJECTS FORCE IN UKRAINE
Fox News: “President Obama told Russia's Vladimir Putin on Monday that the U.S. had ‘grave concern’ about Moscow's aggression in Ukraine -- as pro-Russian protesters stormed government buildings in what U.S. officials said appears to be a coordinated effort backed by Moscow. A senior administration official said the call between the two world leaders was ‘frank and direct,’ and was at the request of the Russians. The White House said Obama told Putin Russia's support of pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine was a matter of ‘grave concern,’ and urged Putin to convince the forces to leave the buildings they have seized. ‘The president made clear that the diplomatic path was open and our preferred way ahead, but that Russia’s actions are neither consistent with or conducive to that,’ the official said. The White House said Obama also told Putin he believes a diplomatic solution cannot succeed as long as the Russian government continues its aggression in Ukraine. The Kremlin also issued a statement about the phone call, saying Putin urged Obama to use the U.S.' capabilities to prevent bloodshed in the region. Putin told Obama that concerns about meddling in southeastern Ukraine are speculations based on ‘inaccurate information.’’
Buzzed off - The call came after a Russian fighter jet buzzed a U.S. warship in the Black Sea, making 12 passes by the USS Donald Cook over the span of 90 minutes. A Russian warship was also reportedly shadowing the Navy vessel during the incident. A U.S. spokesman called the episode “unprofessional.” The USS Donald Cook returned to port following the flybys.
[The Defense Department will spend an estimated $593 billion this year, according to the Office of Management and Budget.]
REID WARNS: NEVADA LAND FIGHT ‘NOT OVER’
Daily Caller: “Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid had an ominous message Monday for Clive Bundy, the Nevada rancher who successfully faced down federal agents attempting to seize his herd for illegal grazing:.. ‘Well, it’s not over,’ he said. We can’t have, in America, people that violate the law and just walk away from it. So it’s not over’… While many Nevada politicians have expressed their support for Bundy, Reid has been largely silent about the controversy since federal agents unexpectedly surrounded the Bundy’s ranch last week. That’s perhaps due to Reid’s reported lobbying of the [Bureau of Land Management] to change the desert tortoise’s mapped habitat, allowing Nevada real estate mogul Harvey Whittemore to build on land near the Bundy’s ranch. Last year Whittemore was convicted of making illegal campaign contributions to Reid, and the Majority Leader’s former senior advisor was confirmed as the new head of BLM just last week.”
[The estimated cost for operating the Bureau of Land Management this year is $1.1 billion, according to the Office of Management and Budget.]
KURTZ: SNOWDEN’S REVENGE? IT DEPENDS
Howard Kurtz weighs in on the Pulitzer Prize for the Guardian and the Washington Post for publishing the revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden: “Snowden has managed to have it both ways in this debate: portraying himself as a truth-telling champion of civil liberties while avoiding the consequences of his actions by fleeing the country… But if the Pulitzer standard is breaking the most important and newsworthy stories of 2013, there is little question that those leaks utterly transformed the global debate over surveillance, and prompted President Obama to propose new restrictions on the way the NSA operates in pursuit of terrorists.”
[How much does the federal government spend on the NSA? Nobody knows for sure, but documents divulged by leaker Edward Snowden suggest that the “black budget” for covert enterprises was $52.6 billion in 2013.]
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Watchdog.org’s Kathryn Watson shares what she found when she filed a public records request with the Alexandria, Va. police department to look into its use of automatic license plate readers: “In all, police captured 16 photos of my car — mostly at night — and recorded my license plate eight times on five dates — from October 2013 to as recently as April 1. In January, a license plate reader captured my plate twice while my car was parked in the lot of my apartment complex, according to latitude and longitude records. Police also captured records of my car as I drove to Bible study on a typical Wednesday night in March. Still, others were captured in various spots around Old Town Alexandria… The state’s highest constitutional office has already said random collection and storage isn’t legal — but many local police departments in Virginia continue to do it.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 42.8 percent//Disapprove – 52.5 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.8 percent//Wrong Track – 61.6 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 41 percent// Republicans 39.5 percent
FIRST IN FOX NEWS FIRST -- HAWKISH CASH HAUL FOR BOLTON
The two political action committees backed by former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton will report today more than $1.8 million in contributions in the first three months of this year. The stout quarterly haul reflects not only Bolton’s potential presidential candidacy but also the increasing willingness among hawkish members of the GOP to put money behind efforts to counter the growing libertarian lean on foreign policy in the party. Bolton is a Fox News contributor. A source familiar with the filing told Fox News First that contributions came from a broad donor base.
CARSON SHOWS FUNDRAISING CLOUT
How seriously should Republicans be taking the potential presidential candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson? The American Legacy PAC will report today that in just two months of fundraising, Carson brought in $1.2 million. The conservative group, which has re-launched itself this year as primarily an ObamaCare repeal organization with Carson (a Fox News Contributor) as chairman, will report its first-ever quarterly fundraising haul of more than $1 million. More than 26,000 donors chipped in, according to a source familiar with the report. Watch Carson on “The O’Reilly Factor” discussing recent accusations of racism leveled by Democrats against Republicans.
RUBIO STAFFING UP
Fox News Latino: “[Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.] is beefing up his political action committee, making significant high-level changes to it and his senatorial staff…. Publicly, Rubio, a Florida Republican, has said he has not yet decided whether to aim for the White House in two years, or whether he’ll seek re-election to the Senate. … Rubio’s longtime chief of staff, Cesar Conda, is becoming senior adviser to Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC. … Alberto Martinez, who has served as Rubio’s deputy chief of staff since 2013, is succeeding Conda. Todd Reid, his state director since 2011, will be deputy chief of staff.”
CRUZ RETURNS TO SOUTH CAROLINA
Following a weekend visit to the first in the nation primary state of New Hampshire, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas heads to the first in the south primary state of South Carolina today. Cruz is set to address the Free Enterprise Foundation’s award dinner at the Citadel.
[The average American taxpayer will pay a tax bill this year equal to the money they earned from January 1 to April 21. Tax Freedom Day 2014 comes three days later than in 2013, according to the Tax Foundation.]
TOUGH SLEDDING FOR DEMS IN MICHIGAN SENATE RACE
The latest survey from Republican pollsters Mitchell Research finds GOP Senate contender Terri Lynn Land leads Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., 48 percent to 44 percent with 18 percent of respondents undecided. President Obama’s currently holds a 55-percent disapproval rating. The same poll finds Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich., with a wide lead over former Rep. Mark Schauer, D-Mich., 49 percent to 37 percent, in Snyder’s re-election bid.
PRYOR HANGING ON
The Hill: “Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) has a 3-percentage-point lead over Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in a new poll released by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee… Pryor leads Cotton by 48 percent to 45 percent in the poll.”
Would you like to see Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., pretending that a pair of traffic cones are breasts? The folks at Breitbart think you would. And they are probably quite right.
[The American Action Forum estimates that this year individuals and businesses will spend 7.7 billion hours filling out a selection of the IRS’s 897 possible forms at a cost of $170.4 billion.]
American Crossroads boasts best March ever - Washington Examiner: “American Crossroads raised $5.2 million last month, posting its best March since launching in the 2010 election cycle. .. As of March 31, American Crossroads' coffers held $6.4 million… The $605,000 in expenditures last month reported by the group includes money for political advertisements in a contested special election for a Florida House district and competitive Senate races in Alaska and North Carolina. American Crossroads raised $5.5 million during the first quarter of this year.”
Gillespie raises serious cash for Warner challenge - Republican senate candidate Ed Gillespie’s campaign tells Politico it raised $2.2 million in the first quarter.
McConnell raking it in - Lexington Courier Journal: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., raised $2.4 million for his re-election campaign during the first three months of this year — more than double the $1.1 million given to GOP Senate challenger Matt Bevin. While Bevin’s total was the most of any quarter since he launched his uphill contest last year against McConnell, the five-term senator also marked his best quarter and brought his election total to $22.3 million. Kentucky’s GOP Senate primary is May 20…The McConnell campaign will report having $10.4 million in cash on hand, with a median contribution of $100…”
More for Capito - The Hill: “[Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.,] announced raising more than $817,000 in the first three months of the year, and [Democrat Senate hopeful Natalie Tennant’s] campaign said she raised $794,000. The congresswoman still boasts a more than 4-to-1 cash advantage over Tennant, with $4.2 million cash on hand compared to more than $1 million for Tennant.”
Oh, Susana - AP: “Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has raised $1.5 million for her re-election in the past six months, giving her a big fundraising advantage over Democratic challengers. Martinez reported cash-on-hand of $4.2 million as of last week….Santa Fe businessman Alan Webber was the leading Democratic fundraiser [among the field of 5 Dem challengers]. He collected about $837,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. That included $450,000 in personal loans and contributions. Webber's campaign reported a cash balance of nearly $440,000.”
[“The current tax code is 73,954 pages. If laid out, those pages would be almost 13 miles, or a half-marathon, long. That’s 10 times the length of the Bible, with none of the good stories.” – Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio from his Buzzfeed posting: “8 Things That Make Americans Cringe On Tax Day.”]
LANDRIEU TOUTS CLOUT
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is out with a new ad touting her differences with the administration on environmental policies. The ad features several news clips of Landrieu blasting the administration’s position on oil and natural gas production. In one clip the incumbent Democrat says, “the administration’s policies are simply wrong…” A narrator goes on to say, “Now as the new chairman of the Energy Committee…she holds the most powerful position in the Senate for Louisiana.”
N.H. GOP TAXES SHAHEEN
The New Hampshire Republican Party is reminding tax-hating Granite State voters that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., once proposed imposing the first-ever state sale tax. From the ad: “When she was governor, she broke her word and attempted to impose a sales tax on the Granite State. In Washington, she has loyally supported the Obama tax and spend agenda 99 percent of the time, including a 500 billion dollar tax hike under the Obama-Shaheen health care takeover.”
YET ANOTHER WASHINGTON FOSSIL
AP: “A Tyrannosaurus rex is joining the dinosaur fossil collection on the National Mall after a 3,000-mile journey from Montana. For the first time, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will have a nearly complete T. Rex skeleton. FedEx is delivering the dinosaur bones Tuesday in 16 crates. Visitors can get their first look as curators examine each bone over the next six months. But it will take five years for the museum to overhaul its dinosaur hall with the T. Rex mounted as the centerpiece of a $35 million gallery devoted to the history of life on Earth. The T. Rex was found in 1988 on federal land and was previously displayed at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont.”
STARTING OVER. STARTING STRONGER.
Boston Globe reunited survivors and first responders from the terrorist attack one year ago today at the Boston Marathon. The paper shares its historic photo shoot in an interactive graphic that allows readers to know the survivors and their stories. The Boston Herald, meanwhile, reminds us of the four who were lost and their legacies. Millions of Americans will join in a moment of prayer and remembrance for the victims of the attack at 2:49 p.m. ET, the moment when the blast occurred.
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.